The Green Care Gazette Legacy Farms Monthly Newsletter

The Green Care Gazette is Legacy Farms monthly interactive newsletter filled with articles about autism advocacy and alternative autism therapies, information about upcoming events, gardening tips and tricks, potential job opportunities and much, much more.

Letter from the Director:

Last month, I had the great honor of accepting the job of Interim Executive Director for Legacy Farms. I was put in place to get us on track and ready to become a fully operational teaching facility offering both day support and agrarian based vocational training programs by 2017. I look forward to the challenge and opportunity to help provide this incredible and well needed service to the folks in Northern Virginia.

I have been working with Legacy Farms as a board member since 2013 and in that time we have served more than 3 dozen applicants over the the last two summers during our Summer Garden Project at Temple Hall Farm. Beginning in March, we will start offering our first Spring program. This program will take place in our new greenhouse where we will plant and care for seedlings, then transfer them into the garden in April.

I am also very excited about this coming year because we recently kicked-off The Legacy Seedlings Membership program to support our Legacy Farmers Giving Back (LFGB) Initiative to plant, grow, harvest and deliver high-quality produce to local food banks and other organizations that see to the needs of low-income families. This is an amazing program and provides our applicants an opportunity to do the most meaningful work there is, helping others!

I look forward to serving you while we enter into this new phase at the farm and have made it my sworn duty to ensure Legacy Farms is operating on schedule and ready to serve by March.

Patrick Cox, Interim Executive Director

The Greenhouse

Easier Said than Done!

This month we finally broke ground on the greenhouse. This task has been haunting us for quite some time, but construction is underway and we hope to finish within the next couple weeks.

When we planned to build the greenhouse we had a separate site picked out and most of the foundation work was already completed. We learned we could build it on the farm and that changed everything. Then it became a time issue, and because it is at Temple Hall, we had to wait until after The Fall Festival Season was over to get started. Now, it's a race against the weather.-Patrick Cox
Phase one: The Foundation. We opted to build the greenhouse on a footer and use gravel for the floor. This is more cost effective and requires less manual labor as we only need to dig a 18 in. wide x 12 in. deep trench for the concrete foundation. We are very grateful for John and Trent Garey and their help planning, surveying and plotting out the footer, THANKS GUYS! Next step, pour the foundation and finally build the greenhouse! We will be working on this project every weekend through December until it is complete, if you would like to help then please email Michelle at
Our Palram 20 x 8 ft. Greenhouse

A Place to Learn, Create, Experiment, Collaborate and Grow...literally!

This greenhouse signifies so much to so many people. For Legacy Farms, it's an opportunity to expand and offer new and innovative programs all year long. For our farmers, it offers up a chance to experiment and learn how to grow different types of produce and flowers.

This greenhouse will save us money and enable us to grow seedlings on our own. Using the money we save on seedlings, we will buy the best, open-pollinated, pure, natural, and non-GMO seeds to grow high-quality produce for our Legacy Farmers Giving Back Initiative.

It's a workshop and a classroom. We will have a place to produce "How-to" videos starring our students, a place to host community workshops and grow flowers for local events.

This greenhouse won't just grow plants, it will grow new opportunities and produce skillsets we were unable to offer in the past.
Legacy Farms: Recipes from the Garden

Squash Haters Casserole

Until we have our greenhouse up and running, we will have to settle for locally sourced veggies. Since it's the holidays I wanted to share a very special family recipe, in honor of my dearly departed Aunt Mary. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas she would make this dish and everyone would avoid it at first. It's a yellow squash dish and most of my family avoided squash, well any vegetable, like the plague. She would urge everyone to at least try it and once they did they were in love.

It is SO good! It will make squash haters change their mind! The best part is this casserole can be made ahead of time and baked later for entertaining. Perfect for any holiday meal!

This casserole takes about 20 minutes to assemble. The onions are sautéed until they are tender. Once the squash is done, a quick cheesy sauce is made and tossed with the squash and onion. Finally, pop it in the oven and you have a cheesy and delicious veggie side dish. Goes great with turkey or ham. YUM!


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6 medium yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Splash of cooking sherry
  • Italian bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish.

Boil water in large multi pot with strainer (If you have one, if not any pot and strainer will do). Slice the squash into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces, place in boiling water and boil til tender. While squash is boiling, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, and butter until soft. Transfer squash and sauteed onions to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan, Cheddar, and sour cream. Add salt, pepper and a splash of cooking sherry or white wine, to taste.

Place in the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the Italian bread crumbs evenly over the top. Refrigerate until you're cooking the rest of your meal. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbly. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. ENJOY!


Legacy Farms has plenty of opportunities for people to earn volunteer hours for school, work, or simply because you just want to help others.

One way to get involved is to become an intern as an instructor/teachers aid. As we move toward Spring 2017, we will begin hiring staff, slowly at first as we will be working toward earning our CARF Accreditation. While we are going through this process, we will need qualified interns to help in the greenhouse and garden. This is a great way to gain valuable experience working directly with people who have a wide range of disabilities, and if you're going to school to become a teacher or work with people who have special needs, what better way to learn than outdoors on a farm.

Another way to get involved is to volunteer as a garden instructor/aid. This is a great position for seniors looking for something to do, horticulturists looking for a fun project, or an average gardener looking to improve their skills and help out along the way.

We are always interested in learning more and your expert input would benefit our farmers as they learn new and innovative gardening techniques. Your experience could be what inspires one of our applicants to go into a certain field or take on a new project themselves.

70% of the produce we grow is donated to local food banks and organizations that assist low-income families. By helping us, your guidance and skills will ensure those we help get the best, highest quality produce.

Joining an Advisory Committee and putting your professional skills to use is another way to get involved and make a real difference. We are looking for people with experience in marketing, fundraising and event management, volunteer management and leadership, gardening and horticulture, business/nonprofit management, and finance and accounting. Our advisory committees meet 4 times a year as well as during special events and special projects.

At Legacy Farms we are not just a group of people working together, we are a family and we are growing. We would love for you to join.

Portrait of a SUPERSTAR: Jacob

Jacob started working at Sunset Hills Vineyard in August of 2015 and is highly motivated by the fact that when he works, he earns a paycheck for the work he does. Jacob spends his OWN money on things that interest him such as movie tickets, an Amazon Echo for his room and of course video games for his Xbox One.

"Jacob has a variety of jobs he performs at the Vineyard ranging from leaf pulling, training vines, clipping, harvesting, pruning and his favorite bottling." Explains his mother and job coach, Michelle. "His father and I have seen him grow into a young man before our eyes. He has become more independent and self-confident. While there is still a lot of growing up to do, we are sure that with the continued support at Sunset Hills Vineyard and Legacy Farms, he will keep making progress and increase his independence in the years to come."

"Jacob has overcome so much this last year, and while he is not considered an "outdoor lover" , he has grown tremendously since he began his job at Sunset Hills. Being outdoors can be difficult, but he pushes through with grace while a year ago he would not have been so mature."-Michelle
“Do not fear people with Autism, embrace them, Do not spite people with Autism unite them, Do not deny people with Autism accept them for then their abilities will shine” ― Paul Isaacs

The Arc of Loudoun's Disability Advocacy Network

Legacy Farms works closely with several local organizations and has always held a philosophy that embraces all those who help people with disabilities. One of those organizations is The Arc of Loudoun. Recently, we recieved an email from them encouraging us to join their Advocacy Network and invite others. We would like to share that message with you and encourage you to take action to ensure we continue to have the resources available to us all, and that allow us to provide the services we do.

I hope you can join us in an important effort! Next year, we'll have a new President and many new Members of Congress. Members of Congress base their votes on their own experiences, interactions, and beliefs - and hearing directly from their constituents can make all the difference. Programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are a lifeline for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We're working with The Arc to educate my U.S. Senators and Representatives about Medicaid and other lifeline programs, and to do rapid response to any proposed cuts. Please join us by signing up for The Arc's Disability Advocacy Network, to get timely updates and action alerts. You can sign up at below

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Patrick Cox

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